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Photo credit: Royce-lingerie.co.uk, Skins.net, Falke.com, Shockabsorber.co.uk and Boobydoo.co.uk.

Five Sport bras review

12-Jan-17

Last updated: 24-Oct-18

By Fiona Outdoors

This one is a round-up test review for the female ultra runners, although, if you are a guy, you might be interested in buying your girlfriend/wife the perfect running gift.

A sports bra is an essential item for women runners for a number of reasons. It’s important to stop the bounce so as to keep the Cooper’s ligaments in good health. Stretched Cooper’s ligaments – the ones that maintain the structural integrity of the breasts – do not recover once over-stretched and so the better the bra support the better the long-term structure of your chest.

A bouncing chest is also uncomfortable for runners and if the breasts are not held correctly you can end up with rubs and sores underneath.

So, all in all, a good sports bra is an ultra runner’s best friend.

I put five sports bras to the test. It should be noted that I am not well-endowed, although I have asked my larger chested friends for their experience of sports bras too.

Photo credit: Skins.net.

SKINS DNAMIC Speed Crop top bra

SKINS is perhaps better known for their compression tights and tops, so I was interested to see if the supportive fabric also worked well in a bra.

Features

  • Medium impact support
  • Wide and smooth elastic straps
  • Dynamic Gradient Compression
  • Moisture management
  • Warp knit, which has no natural stretch, instead, the spandex mix ensures “perfectly controlled compression”
  • Sewn in padding
  • 50+ UV protection
  • Range of colours

The sizing seems small so I had to return the small bra and ask for a medium. I am normally a small size.

It’s actually quite a struggle to get into the bra, even a medium, especially because there is no back clasp to undo, but once on it does hold the chest very firmly.

I would disagree with the medium support rating. I found there was no bounce at all in the bra.

The wide straps offer good comfort around the lower part of the chest and over the shoulders. The bra looks good enough to wear on its own, if you should choose to do so, and I found it was generally excellent at allowing sweat to evaporate although other people have reported it rubs under the arms due to dampness.

It is a great bra for smaller women but for women larger than a C cup there are complaints of unattractive side bulges.

The light padding is sewn in and does not move about when washing. It gives a nice boost for smaller chests.

PROS: Price; support for smaller chests; comfortable shoulder straps; nice design.

CONS: Sizing; battle to get it on; some reports of sweat rubs; not ideal for larger chests.

Score  
Design 8.5/10
Features 8/10
Performance 8/10
Value 8/10
Total 8/10

 

Conclusion

The bra looks good and is well designed for comfort but only if you are smaller chested. You should be prepared for a bit of grappling to get it on, but once in place it feels supportive in all the right places.

Photo credit: Shockabsorber.co.uk.

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Shock Absorber is a well-known sports bra brand and many women runners swear by it. There is a wide variety of bras to suit a range of sports and the “Ultimate RUN Bra” is designed specifically for runners.

The award-winning Ultimate RUN bra is claimed to reduce bounce by up to 78% and provides ultimate friction-free comfort.

Features

  • Infinity-8 support system counteracts figure-of-eight movement of breasts during running
  • Soft, seamless inner reduces rubbing or chafing
  • Non-slip, wide padded adjustable straps
  • Reflective tape across cups for high visibility
  • Full back opening for easy on and off
  • Moisture-wicking, breathable fabric
  • 30A to 36G
  • Many different colours

If I am going to buy a bra for least bounce and best comfort for running it is always a Shock Absorber. They can be the priciest of bras but they do what they say they will and they are long lasting, even after many washes.

The fit is really good, whatever your size, and the padded shoulder straps and soft seamless design make the bra very easy to wear. Some people do complain that you end up with a “mono-boob” but I would prefer that than a lack of support.

The newer styles of Shock Absorber bras, such as the Ultimate RUN, are far more flattering than earlier versions.

The bra has a non-slip area of the straps at the back but I am not sure why you might need that! Perhaps it’s to stop the back of the bra riding up but I have never experienced this as a problem.

You can choose to have the style as a racer back or a more traditional straight over the shoulder look.

The bras are easier to get on than the simpler over-the-head designs and the chests trap is adjustable with three sets of two hooks.

The fabric is great to wear and allows sweat to wick away so you do not end up cold from a damp bra.

I find Shock Absorber bras have the least bounce of any on test and I always wear this brand if I can.

The colours are fantastic.

If I could improve on his bra I’d have lightly padded inserts for a fuller look but that is only because I am quite small chested. Really, though, I prefer performance over looks.

I have found it difficult to find good stocks of this bra in many stores but it is worth persevering to find.

PROS: Support; design; fit; fabric; colourways.

CONS: Price; availability of stocks.

Score  
Design 9/10
Features 9/10
Performance 10/10
Value 7.5/10
Total 8.75/10

 

Conclusion

Many runners swear by Shock Absorber bras for least bounce and I agree. The bras are well made and the longest lasting of any I have ever worn. They are comfortable and good looking.

 

Photo credit: Royce-lingerie.co.uk.

Royce Impact Free sports bra

The Impact Free sports bra is designed to be comfortable and stylish, while also offering “maximum support for any sport”.

Features

  • Choice of sizes, from petite sizes to FF cups.
  • Three colours, white, black and bright pink
  • High cotton content (65% Cotton, 16% Polyamide, 15% Polyester, 4% Elastane
  • Padded straps only larger cup sizes
  • Light padding inserts (removable) for smaller cups.

A spots bra made with high cotton content seemed odd to me because cotton tends to absorb sweat rather than allow it to evaporate.

I also think that white is not a great colour for a bra because they end up looking grey after a few washes, so I recommend you buy the pricier black or pink.

The fit is really good. A 34A fits me just as I think a 34A should fit and I welcome the light padding, simply because I do not end up looking totally flat chested.

It’s good that the brand has thought about more petite women and there is a range of petite sizes.

The shape of the bra avoids the mono-boob look that happens with some bras and so I felt I looked good in this bra. It’s a much more traditional looking bra, if that’s what you prefer.

Of course, it’s performance that matters rather than looks. The bra has plenty of hooks at the back for adjusting so I could get it to fit really well and it offered fairly good support when running. I have found bras that offer better support.

The padded inserts add a little boost to a smaller chest if you want that but can also be easily removed if you don’t. They stay in place in the wash.

I was right about the cotton, however, and I found the bra ended up damp with sweat. This made me cold when I stopped exercising because the damp was still there.

I would reserve this sports bra for less sweaty activities, such as easy going walking or very gentle jogging.

PROS: Price if you buy white; traditional looks; padded inserts.

CONS: Cotton holds sweat; price if you buy pink.

Score  
Design 5/10
Features 7/10
Performance 5/10
Value 7.5/10*
Total 6/10

* Average price range.

Conclusion

I have no idea why you would choose to make a sports bra from cotton although it does feel very comfortable against the skin at first. Sweat stays in the cotton and leaves the wearer damp. However, it would be good bra for lighter activity as it looks good and makes the most of a smaller chest.

Photo credit: Boobydoo.co.uk.

Pure Lime Compression sports bra

The bra offers maximum support for high impact activities for those up to a GG cup. It combines support with a feminine shape.

Features

  • Adjustable, padded straps
  • Coolmax material to keep sweat at bay
  • Side support to reduce side movement
  • No side seams
  • Sizes 28C to 44GG
  • Reflective details
  • Colours: Black, red, nude and white

The Pure Lime Compression Bra looks quite ordinary but once it is on it feels very comfortable and offers great support when running.

The wide shoulder straps, in particular, are great as they do not dig into skin and the chest strap is quite wide and feels comfortable.

The bra is quick to wick away sweat and dries very quickly once you stop running. I did find it chafed a bit at the sides, under the arms, during extended runs.

Because I am small chested I usually prefer padded inserts to give me some shape rather than simply flattening my chest. However, the basic bra does its best to offer a feminine shape rather than a mono-boob.

Some larger chested reviewers say the bra does not give them enough support for high-impact sports, such as running.

The bra can be worn as a stand-alone crop top style item, which is possibly why the bra has reflective detailing.

PROS: Good adjustment; CoolMax fabric; price; fit; looks.

CONS: No padded inserts; better for smaller to medium sized chests.

Score  
Design 8/10
Features 8/10
Performance 8/10
Value 8/10
Total 8/10

 

Conclusion

A straightforward sports bra with good support for small to medium sized chests. Nice touches, such as padded and wider shoulder straps and CoolMax fabric are a bonus.

Photo credit: Falke.com.

FALKE “Cross Back” Medium Support bra top

This is a stylish bra top that offers a 2-in-1 design for medium support. The highly elastic fabric is not only quick-drying it also has a double seamless finish on the sides.

Features

  • Two-layer, quick-drying fabric
  • Compression fit with medium support
  • Racer back
  • Wide, adjustable chest strap
  • Seamless finish at the sides
  • 2-in-1 look
  • 85% Nylon, 15% Elastane
  • Four sizes: S to XL
  • Seven colours

I would normally choose a small size but I couldn’t get into the small so I needed to go up a size.

The bra is designed to offer support in all the right places, around the side and under the breasts.

The adjustable chest strap is nice and wide and stretchy which makes it very comfortable – and it’s also possible to under the back hooks for easier access. I do struggle a bit to do up sports bras when they are a crop top style however.

The fabric is silky and good to wear against the skin and the 2-in-1 design looks really good. I would wear this on its own as a crop top when the weather is warm enough.

The colour range is super and there are some lovely bright colours with contrasting inserts.

Support is actually very good and I would rate it firm rather than medium. However, I am smaller chested and I think that larger chested ladies might reserve this bra for medium impact sports.

I did not get bothered with any rubs or dampness and the bra quickly dried after my running workout.

Other Falke sports bras have padded inserts but not this version, which I was a bit sad about. I prefer a bit more shape even when wearing a sports bra and especially because I am small chested.

PROS: Design; looks; colours; fabric; support for smaller chests.

CONS: Small sizes; few sizes; not supportive for larger chested runners; no padded inserts.

Score  
Design 9/10
Features 8/10
Performance 8/10
Value 7.5/10
Total 8/10

 

Conclusion

The Falke bra looks like it has been designed by someone who cares about looks, even in a practical sports bra, and although you need to think about going up a size it offers a good fit and good support for smaller chests. The seamless front and side meant there was no chafing.

Have you used any of these sport bras? Don’t agree with this review? What’s your opinion? Add your own comment to this review and share your experience and passion for running with others.

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OUR RATING

Product Rating

YOUR RATING

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0 REVIEWS

“Stretched Cooper’s ligaments – the ones that maintain the structural integrity of the breasts – do not recover once over-stretched and so the better the bra support the better the long-term structure of your chest”

Where to buy

Royce Impact Free sports bra View deal
Falke Cross Back medium support bra View deal
Pure Lime Compression sports bra View deal
Pure Lime High Impact compression bra View deal
Skins Dnamic Speed sports bra View deal
Skins Dnamic sports bra View deal
Skins DNAmic Speed Crop Top bra View deal
Skins Dnamic Compression crop top View deal
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra View deal
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra View deal
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra View deal
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra View deal
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